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Find the Best Refrigerator Brands

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by ConsumerAffairs Research Team

Use our guide to research the best refrigerator brand for you. Whether you're in the market for a compact refrigerator for a small space or a large appliance for a family home, you want to consider the options before making a purchase. We explain how to compare different types of refrigerators and what features are available.

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What features matter most in a refrigerator?

Ease of use

It's important to have a refrigerator that is easy to use and has the right amount of accessibility.

  • Doors and drawers: The size and weight of doors and drawers on a fridge vary. Some doors will be quite heavy, so kids might have a hard time opening them. Others are light and can swing back and forth on the hinge, but these doors can easily be left open.
  • Versatility: Does the refrigerator allow you to switch the side that the door swings on? This feature is convenient when a fridge is installed and the door will not open all the way because of a wall or cabinet; the door then can be switched to fit the space.
  • Freezer position: Most refrigerators will come with a freezer, which can be located in different positions. Bottom drawer freezer refrigerators make it easy to reach your fresh food without having to bend over. Top door freezer refrigerators have less freezer space and are good for people who need access to ice and small frozen foods. There are also refrigerators where the fridge and freezer are positioned side-by-side, making access to both very easy.

Refrigerator price

Depending on whether you are looking for a small, cost-efficient refrigerator or a large appliance for your business, the cost can vary greatly. Some companies provide less expensive solutions and others focus on making a luxury product.

  • Budget-friendly: There are many budget refrigerators available, whether they are tiny, compact versions or are made of cheaper materials. These cost less up front but may have to be serviced or replaced more often. You can find cheap refrigerators for just a few hundred dollars that don’t have any additional amenities or bells and whistles.
  • Basic: Some refrigerator companies offer middle-of-the-line models that offer plenty of storage space and are perfectly functional but might lack extra features, such as icemakers.
  • Luxury: These feature more expensive materials, such as stainless steel, and expensive technologies, such as smart temperatures, CleanFlow Air Filters and Wi-Fi.

Aesthetic appeal

The general aesthetic of the fridge is also a key factor in making a choice.

  • Finish: Stainless Steel finishes are durable and attractive but also show fingerprints and dirt easily. Other materials, like plastic and faux stainless, can be less expensive and conceal dirt a bit better.
  • Depth: Depending on the space, the depth of a refrigerator can sometimes make a room feel crowded or take over the whole aesthetic of the kitchen. Look for one that is space-appropriate and doesn't stick out from the cabinets or wall too much.
  • Interior storage: Does the refrigerator have enough storage space in the body and doors to make sure that it doesn't look cluttered and messy? Some refrigerators come with adjustable shelves and storage features.

Additional company offerings

Some refrigerator companies have special offerings that help them stand out from their competitors.

  • Knowledgeability: The company should be knowledgeable about the types of refrigerators on the market and its current models should feature the latest technology.
  • Warranties: A good refrigerator company offers warranties that ensure your new refrigerator will stay functional over time. Standard warranties included with purchase normally cover repairs and defects for up to one year, but some companies allow customers to purchase extended service and repair plans.
  • Accessibility: A refrigerator company should be able to offer customer support over the phone or online chat, as well as have certified technicians available to you so your refrigerator can be serviced or replaced right away.

Eco-friendliness

Many refrigerator companies offer green alternatives that are friendlier to the environment.

  • Energy efficiency: Some refrigerator companies only sell refrigerators that are energy efficient in order to reduce the impact of energy use on the environment.
  • App connection: Many refrigerators have features where they can be connected to an app, this app can control them remotely so you can fine-tune energy consumption.
  • Money-saving: Customers will save money on their energy bills by reducing the amount of power needed to operate their refrigerators.

What are the different types of refrigerators?

Top freezers
  • 14.5–24.0 cubic feet
  • $400–$2,000
  • Smaller freezer space than other types
Bottom freezers
  • 19.0–24.9 cubic feet
  • $900–$2,500
  • Slightly larger than top freezer model
Side-by-sides
  • 20.0–29.0 cubic feet
  • $1,100–$3,000
  • Equal freezer and refrigerator space
French doors
  • 18.0–32.0 cubic feet
  • $1,500–$4,000
  • Can be customized with built-in cabinetry
Compact models
  • 9.9–12.0 cubic feet
  • $60–$200
  • Good for small spaces

Refrigerators FAQ

What is the best month to buy a refrigerator?
May is a great time to buy a new refrigerator because it’s when most stores unveil their latest models, and many businesses discount older models to clear space. Holiday weekends are also a great time to buy a new fridge because many big-box stores offer discounts.
What is the average life expectancy of a refrigerator?
Standard refrigerators typically last anywhere from 10 to 18 years, with the average being around 14 years. Compact fridges, like what you’d find in dorm rooms, have a slightly shorter life expectancy — typically eight to 10 years.
How do you know if your refrigerator compressor is bad?
You can tell a lot about your refrigerator compressor just by listening. If you suddenly stop hearing the humming, on-again, off-again cycle of your fridge, the compressor may not be working. Also, If the compressor runs continuously but the fridge isn’t reaching the proper temperature, the compressor may be malfunctioning.
Which is better, side-by-side or French door refrigerator?
There are pros and cons to both:
  • Side-by-side refrigerators give you eye-level access to both the refrigerator and freezer and plenty of freezer space. But it’s not as easy to store larger items, and they aren’t as energy efficient.
  • French door refrigerators have aesthetic appeal and wide shelves, but you have to bend down to access the freezer. These fridges cost more than side-by-side models.
How long do top freezer refrigerators last?
A typical refrigerator with a freezer on top lasts from 10 to 15 years. You can extend the life span of your top freezer refrigerator by:
  • Keeping vents clear
  • Lubricating the door gaskets
  • Cleaning the condenser coils
Can I use a commercial refrigerator at home?
Yes, you can use a commercial refrigerator at home. Commercial refrigerators increase your fridge storage space, but they are noisier and not as energy efficient. The manufacturer also may not provide warranty coverage for residential use of a commercial refrigerator.
How much does it cost to repair a refrigerator?
It usually costs $100 to $400 to repair a broken fridge. The cost depends on the price of parts and labor. Companies may charge a flat or hourly rate. To avoid expensive appliance repair bills, consider a home warranty.

Not sure how to choose?

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    Refrigerator author reviews

    Kenmore Refrigerators

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    • Built-in option: Viking offers customers built-in refrigerator options, which means that customers can customize their refrigerator to match their home.
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    • Size variety: The company offers refrigerators in a huge range of sizes so the products fit into many homes or commercial establishments.
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    by ConsumerAffairs Research Team

    The ConsumerAffairs Research Team believes everyone deserves to make smart decisions. We aim to provide readers with the most up-to-date information available about today's consumer products and services.

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